Roku For Dummies!

By on Aug 22, 2010 | 1 comment

I recently purchased a Roku HD player at a great price from Amazon.com. I am an avid Netflix user and streaming video to my laptop is nice but watching movies on a television is a much nicer experience all around. My Roku arrived this week and, unbelievably, I installed it on my lunch hour after I ate my lunch and I was not late returning to work! In less than thirty minutes I connected it to my television and the internet, registered my device with Roku, Netflix, and Amazon Video On Demand. It was an amazingly simple process. I had been told that I would need to manage my Netflix queue via the internet to add movies for streaming, however Netflix has made some upgrades that allow you to search for movies via your Roku device making adding and deleting from the device is very user friendly. Download speeds are fast and I have not had any issues with any movies needing to buffer as I watched them. The only thing I found a bit awkward was scrolling through a video I just wanted to watch parts of, however if you pause during a movie and come back later to resume watching, it immediately goes to the point where you left off. There are many options of channels you can add to your Roku device from podcasts to videos to photo sharing. Thus far I have added Mediafly, PodTV, woot!, Roku Newscaster, EZTakes, and USTREAM.tv. I have found each of these applications to be very easy to navigate and use. I have not found Amazon video on demand as simple to use though. I found their application to be a bit cumbersome and outside of a few current television show offerings, all of their content is available on Netflix, so paying for Amazon rentals is not going to be something I will do with any regularity. For those interested in MMA, there are a couple of channels for viewing UFC which offers LIVE events and archived PPV events and classic fights and Midwest Cage Fighting. It also has some internet radio channels, family channels with kid friendly content, some independent film channels, and several classic movie channels. In addition, in the few days since I have installed my Roku device, there have been several new channels added to the lineup, so I will be checking back often to see what else is new. If you have been considering purchasing a Roku device, I would definitely recommend...

Sansa: The MP3 Player That Could

By on Aug 18, 2010 | 1 comment

Back in January of 2009 we got a new telephone system installed at work. The included “tones” in the system while people were waiting on hold, or even for a call to connect were bad, really bad. We contacted the company who installed the system knowing that we could set up a device for hold music. They had various “hold music devices” that were fairly expensive. If I remember correctly, the cheapest one they sold was over $250. I thought about it for a few minutes and said, “can’t we just use an MP3 player?” Obviously the man on the phone didn’t care for my idea very much because they didn’t sell MP3 players for this function. But surprisingly he said he didn’t see it being a problem. We all questioned the reliability of a relatively inexpensive MP3 playing device, but now I can say that reliability has not been an issue at all. I went to Best Buy in February of 2009 and saw a Sandisk Sansa Clip on sale for $34. I figured even if it only lasted a few months we would get our money’s worth. We purchased legal MP3 files to serve the function of hold music, which also includes overlays of words such as “please stay on the line, your call is important to us” that fades in over the music on occasion. It is now August 18, 2010 and the MP3 player has never stopped playing. It has been running continuously for nearly 600 days straight. Just in case something happens to the device, we have 3 extra ones purchased during a special on Woot.com for $20 a piece. Here is a photo taken today of the MP3 player in action. The battery inside even acts as a backup if we have power issues. Which reminds me to point out that the battery still keeps a charge. Needless to say, flash storage based MP3 players can apparently last a very long time. I would not hesitate to purchase a Sandisk MP3 player if my need for one ever arises.  They are built great and can’t be beat for the price. For those interested, here is a link to the updated Sansa Clip+. It is less than $50 for 8gb of storage and is expandable with a microSD...

The Apple Experience

By on Aug 15, 2010 | 6 comments

I have been a Mac user for years now. When I first “switched” things could not have been better. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Apple is far from what it used to be. Many people will argue that they are more popular than ever, which might be true from a sales standpoint, but in terms of quality and reliability Apple products are a far cry from what they were even 5 years ago. Around February of 2005 I bought a G4 iBook. I loved it, and still do except for the screen resolution. It has always worked very well. I could easily take it to class and use it all day on a single battery charge. It is quiet and never overheats. As far as I’m concerned it has worked flawlessly, and I’d like to point out, it still does. The battery still keeps a great charge. The screen has zero dead pixels. It has held up perfectly. As I stated before it’s main downfall for “modern” times is the low screen resolution of 1024×768. It has a 1.33ghz G4 Processor, 1.25gb of RAM and runs the Leopard operating system. It isn’t fast compared to new laptops, but it is great for general internet usage, even still today. In May of 2008 I purchased a 24″ iMac. At that point I became a full time Mac user at home. I loved it. And for $1800 I hoped it would last a long time. Fast forward to 2010 and now I know I was totally mistaken. The iMac, along with every other piece of Apple hardware over the last couple of years, has various flaws that Apple refuses to do anything about and they just don’t last as long as they should. For one, they overheat. Apple seems to think that the more silent a computer is the better… No, that’s not the case. If I let the fans on my iMac run at stock speed, not only does the whole computer get ridiculously hot, but even the LCD screen burns in. In order to make my screen viewable after a few hours I finally figured out that I needed to remove the glass covering on my screen (it’s simply held in place with a few magnets) and use a program to control my fan speeds. Without the glass my iMac looks fairly bad, but if it helps the issue it is the only option I have. There have been various topics on the Apple forums regarding this issue and absolutely no solutions have been posted. Why? Because there are none. It’s a major design flaw. Nothing can be done to fix it other than what I have done, if you even consider that a fix. On a side note, other things have failed on my iMac also, including the Super Drive and the line-in jack. Another problem is their operating system support. Snow Leopard is great, don’t get me wrong. But I am unable to upgrade past 10.6.2 on my iMac. Well, that’s not entirely true. I can if I want to have a completely unstable and unusable computer. Starting with 10.6.3 and even in the current build 10.6.4, there is a major issue that causes the entire computer to lock up. The screen either gets lines all over it, or goes completely black, and the computer is unresponsive to all input. The only possible thing to do is to press the power button on the back of the iMac until you can restart it. This issue started all the way back in April of this year. It is now mid August. Once again, there is no response from Apple about the issue and they have no idea what to do. They released a so called “fix” for something but it had no effect on my computer. I am not the only one with this problem either. There are plenty of threads on the Apple forums regarding the same issue. I was forced to reinstall Snow Leopard and only upgrade back up to 10.6.2 to have a working computer. Because I initially liked my iMac so much, I bought a first gen iPod Touch for a whopping $379. I absolutely loved it. It basically convinced me to cancel my Verizon contract and switch to AT&T to buy an iPhone 3g. My phone has always worked fairly well. As a matter of fact, I still use the iPhone 3g. I have it jailbroken of course. But once again, Apple released their next great thing iOS 4. iOS 4 is totally useless on the iPhone 3g. My phone is already nearly 2 years old so the battery doesn’t hold a charge nearly as well as it did early on. iOS 4 absolutely destroys it, not to mention the fact that the useful features such as “background” apps aren’t officially supported on it. Needless to say, I am using the 3.1.3 OS, and I will never upgrade any higher. They don’t even support a wallpaper on the iPhone 3g. Amazingly, I have no issues with full themes while it is jailbroken. I’m sure you can imagine where I am heading now with this, the iPhone 4 “antennagate” issue… I would love to buy a new phone. AT&T was even nice enough to allow me to do so early if I wanted to upgrade. Why would anyone even consider doing this? Yeah I know,...

More posts coming soon!

By on Aug 6, 2010 | 1 comment

Well, it’s been a while since my last post here. Sorry about that… Luckily, John has posted a few times and kept some new content coming. I appreciate it. And soon we will be posting much more frequently again. Life has been hectic in general the last few months, and when I have free time I have been totally engrossed in a few Steam games such as Team Fortress 2 and Day of Defeat: Source. They are totally addicting, seriously. As I said, expect more frequent posts again soon. I know I still have a few loyal visitors at least and I don’t want to disappoint. Have a great weekend...

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